Nigerian court adjourns suspended central bank governor’s fraud hearing

ABUJA (Reuters) – A Nigerian court in the capital Abuja adjourned a hearing on Thursday for suspended central bank governor Godwin Emefiele, who is facing a 20-count fraud charge, due to the absence of a second defendant on the case, a government lawyer said.

The matter was adjourned to Aug 23 after a co-defendant on the indictment became ill and was unable to be in court. Nigerian law requires defendants to take their plea in person.

Emefiele, who is being charged alongside a central bank employee and a private firm for alleged procurement fraud, was therefore unable to enter a plea.

Emefiele was suspended by President Bola Tinubu in June and has already pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing a firearm illegally — charges which were subsequently withdrawn.

Government lawyers on Tuesday announced additional graft charges against the governor, including allegedly “conferring unlawful advantages” and “unlawful procurement”.

(Reporting by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo and Camillus Eboh; editing by Christina Fincher)